Dodgy social science in the Utah same-sex marriage case

graduationIn their recent submissions to a federal court judge who’s being asked to mandate same-sex marriage in Utah, the plaintiffs included a declaration from a sociologist, Charlotte Patterson, who commonly weighs in on litigation with the message that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. The problem, of course, is that there are now studies with larger sample sizes and employing better methodologies than have been conducted in the past which indicate there are real differences in outcomes for children raised by married mothers and fathers compared to those raised by same-sex couples.

For instance, a very recent Canadian study that suggested poorer educational outcomes for the latter. The plaintiffs’ expert tries to minimize this study.

We asked the author of the Canadian study, Dr. Douglas Allen of Simon Fraser University, for his response to the treatment of his work in the “expert” affidavit. Read on for his response:

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Family and poverty

familypovertyOn Father’s Day 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at the Apostolic Church in Chicago. He spoke about families and how tragic it is that half of all black children live in single-parent homes. He said this rate had doubled during his lifetime, and he lamented that “fathers have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”

The presidential candidate spoke of the societal ills caused by this weakening of the family. It results in poor education, higher crime and rising poverty. His remarks have application to every family of every race in America. The principles of two-parent homes and the advantages they give to children are undeniable.

For instance, in the 1960s the U.S. poverty rate was 13.3 percent. Forty years later, despite huge gains in our national wealth, the rate had only crept downward to 12.8 percent. Many have cited this number as proof that the economy during this time only rewarded the rich or the lucky. But the truth is that the poverty rate decreased dramatically for every single demographic group, no matter how you slice up the numbers. Married, unmarried, children or childless – the poverty rate decreased across the board. So why did the total rate drop so little?

Click here to find out why, and much more, at Utah Citizen Network.

DOMA ruling reveals ultimate goal of "gay rights" activists

Rainbow hat

The following post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

Recent Supreme Court decisions regarding homosexual rights have confirmed the validity of the old adage that, “The devil always oversteps his bounds.” In the Defense of Marriage case, Justice Anthony Kennedy reminded every Utahn leery of “gay rights” why we’re right to be suspicious. The goal isn’t equality or fairness under the law. The goal is public acceptance of homosexuality.

Justice Kennedy told Americans that all attempts to defend traditional marriage are acts of animus, malice and irrationality. He left no room for exceptions. This is a great lesson for our Utah Legislature to remember when it convenes for the 2014 legislative session and is asked to, once again, support a statewide nondiscrimination law.

Like Justice Kennedy’s opinion, the basis for nondiscrimination laws is one person’s perception that another person is motivated by hatred and bigotry. The proposed Utah law is based on what one person thinks about another person’s thoughts. It assumes any unwitting landlord or employer is guilty until proven innocent if some homosexual doesn’t get his way. It is an unjust and immoral legal construction. Read more

Understanding the “Gay Agenda”: Part 1 – In the Beginning

By design, Ryan White was made the face of AIDS in the 1980s.

By design, Ryan White was made the face of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.

The following is part 1 of a multi-part series covering some of the history and tactics of the “gay rights” movement.

By the fall of 1987, AIDS was devastating the homosexual community throughout America. The well-documented promiscuity among homosexuals was a breeding ground for what became known as the “gay disease.” Homosexual males at the time comprised more than 95 percent of known cases of AIDS. Deaths of both out and closeted celebrities of HIV-related symptoms were trending in the news. Cover stories about how “Patient Zero,” the infamous and highly promiscuous male flight attendant Gaëtan Dugas, accused of spreading HIV unconscionably, seemed to be the only news at the time. Predictions of a pandemic were voiced through the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

The truth turned about to be somewhat different. Yes, Africa has been slammed by HIV (not surprising, even within a traditional heterosexual African culture, where anal sex is viewed as a legitimate form of birth control). But America was saved, relatively speaking, from the predicted pandemic. Why? Because HIV always has been primarily a “gay disease” – and there just aren’t that many practicing homosexuals in America (a statement, by the way, known as “The Big Lie” among many homosexual advocates). Yes, needle-using drug addicts have added to those numbers, as have cases of contaminated blood among hemophiliacs. But, by and large, HIV-related illnesses occurred most frequently among homosexuals.

So it was curious in October 1987 that sponsors of the first federal funding bill in the U.S. House of Representatives related to AIDS was titled “The Ryan White Act,” named after a hemophiliac boy who contracted the virus from contaminated blood. Ryan White became the poster child for AIDS in 1987 – not promiscuous homosexual Gaëtan Dugas, but an innocent little boy born with hemophilia. That story played better in Peoria. Read more

‘Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women’

Rebeccawalker

Rebecca Walker (photo: David Fenton, 2003)

In 2008, the daughter of novelist Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, wrote about how her mother’s extreme feminism poisoned her life. Rebecca Walker rued her upbringing and praised the happiness that motherhood has now brought her. Her article caused a bit of an uproar at the time.

My mother’s feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her. …

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

Five years later, mother and daughter are still estranged, and the original piece by Rebecca Walker is worth reading again.

Will this Legislature uphold or undermine ideals of family?

Animating the Sutherland Institute’s efforts on family issues at the Legislature is the principle that individual family disintegration or failure to form is not the only problem our society faces. The increasing social and legal acceptance of family breakdown and weakness is also a very serious problem and contributes to individual tragedies.

In the 2013 session, the Legislature has the opportunity to bolster or undermine the ideals of family reflected in the state’s laws.

Senator Lyle Hillyard has sponsored a common-sense measure that would allow courts to consider whether a divorcing spouse engaged in abuse or adultery when deciding amounts of spousal support that will have to be paid on divorce. Current court interpretations prevent judges from adjusting amounts or denying alimony even when the money is to be paid from an innocent spouse to a former spouse who left the family to pursue another relationship. Read more

America's demographic cliff

Will a lack of children lead to America’s decline? Jonathan V. Last wrote a thought-provoking essay for Saturday’s Wall Street Journal about “America’s Baby Bust”:

For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country’s brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women — a good proxy for the middle class — have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.

Last is the author of the book “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: American’s Coming Demographic Disaster.”

To read more of the essay, click here.

 

Talking past each other

"Conversation," by Camille Pissarro

The phrase “talking past each other” surely applies to the “debate” in which we are supposedly engaged over the meaning of marriage as it relates to divorce, redefinition, cohabitation, unwed parenting, etc.  On one side, there are discussions of the channeling function of the law, the importance of upholding ideals in the face of real-world tragedies, and the rightful expectation of children to know and be raised by their own mother and father or a very close alternative.

On the other side, the message is simpler: I hurt because of you.

The subtext is that if the laws are changed to be more inclusive or if standards are relaxed, then pangs of conscience will be alleviated or thoughtless people will stop saying unkind things.

As Maggie Gallagher noted recently, it seems that there will always be the potential for unmet desires, but the call for a truly civilized society is to prioritize our response to the hurt this situation engenders. Will we respond to expressions of pain in a way that increases it for another person? Read more

Weighing decisions of character against feelings of discomfort

In our continued debates over moral issues, it is not uncommon for politicians, opinion leaders and others to announce that, after agonizing over the issue, they have decided to change positions or announce positions in favor of things like abortion or redefining marriage or whatever.

Some of these announcements are well-meaning and sincere, some are opportunistic and cynical. A common explanation is that the experience of a relative or friend or prominent advocate has led to the change of heart (or mind). It’s probably not appropriate to try to guess motives – and certainly not to assume ill motives – but sincerity is not the only factor that ought to be considered.

For instance, how should our discomfort (even very acute or agonizing discomfort) caused by the fact that moral standards appear to create hardships for others be weighed against other considerations? Does the fact that we know or admire or love someone who has rejected the standard absolve us from upholding it?

To paraphrase a statement I heard years ago, there is a need for decisions of character apart from sympathy. Read more

Spending our children’s inheritance

One of the gems in Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France is his description of the tradition threatened by the social engineering of the French Revolution as an “entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity.” The analogy is to a form of property ownership in which a person inherits subject to the condition that the property is passed along without diminution to the next heir.

This concept has an echo in the Preamble to the Constitution which includes among the purposes of ratification that the States might “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” “Secure” is an action verb here. Noah Webster’s dictionary (1828) defines “secured” as: “Effectually guarded or protected; made certain; put beyond hazard; effectually confined; made fast.”

A recent study in the Journal of Political Economy provides an interesting take on inheritance. It found that only a small part of the correlation between the incomes of fathers and the incomes of sons can be explained by financial factors. The inheritance is more an inheritance of “human capital” — skills, knowledge, capacity, personality traits, etc. Read more